Fasten Your Seatbelts: Life’s turbulences
by Camillo de Marco
- In his tenth film - a dramatic comedy with multiple main characters - the Italian director of Turkish descent has chosen to represent the phenomenology of passionate love as it is confronted by true pain, illness and death.
There are two moments in life when unstoppable turbulences come about and you need to fasten your seatbelt to hang on. When love comes about and when you are confronted by true illness, by death. With his tenth film, Fasten Your Seatbelts [+see also:
interview: Ferzan Ozpetek
film profile], Ferzan Özpetek, portrays an ensemble of moments, tying them to time: can passion survive over the years and overcome illness? Or does it give in and give up?
In Saturn in Opposition (2007) Ozpetek had already brought a family to life inside a hospital, as it faced the devastating consequences of illness. In Fasten Your Seatbelts, the director divides his film up into two timeframes. In 2000, when, with just the exchange of a few looks, attraction is born between our two main characters: Elena, a young waitress (Kasia Smutniak) and Antonio, a young mechanic (Francesco Arca), who is rude, racist, tattooed, and homophobic. The girl will steal him from her best friend (Carolina Crescentini). . The film then jumps thirteen years ahead: attraction has given way to a stable relationship. The two are married and have two children. He has put on weight, is incapable of a mature relationship and cheats on her. She is the owner of a successful pub, is determined and ambitious. One day, she discovers she has breast cancer. She is surrounded by the love and support of her gay colleague and friend Fabio (a delicious Filippo Scicchitano), her mother Anna (Carla Signoris) and her mother’s extravagant companion (Elena Sofia Ricci). But she is faced with illness, doubting her husband will be able to stay by her side.
Affliction and irony alternate, remaining separate and distant in this dramatic comedy, which counts multiple characters as is usual with the director. Even if in this case, the overtone is of a sentimental bourgeois drama. The film no longer has to worry about the social acceptability of homosexuality, but rather the relationship between men and women of different social classes. The elegant direction and the researched photography (di Gian Filippo Corticelli) beautifully immortalise the actors’ bodies, while the loquacious screenplay written by the director with Gianni Romoli relies on both protagonists - Francesco Arca, is a television actor whose choice by the director was hotly contested on twitter – to connect with the public. Incandescent looks work better, as do lovers’ play, self-obsessed biceps and pectorals, which have become today’s norm.
Once more, Ozpetek does not go too deep and he seeks to impress his bourgeois audience with a scene of love making involving a terminally ill patient. Ozpetek returned to Salento where he had previously filmed Loose Cannons [+see also:
film profile] but we could be anywhere, and he intentionally does not create any tie with his settings. This is life, the director suggests, with its trials and tribulations and unexpected turns. Fasten your seatbelts.